Monday, April 20, 2009

This can be the funnest place in the world......

Or, the most dangerous place in the world, depending on how you look at it.
I personally, had looked at it from my dogs point of view.

The dogs think, wheeeee, fun! Run and spalsh and play in the water! Yeehaw~!

I no longer see it that way. I see it as the place where the bad things live.
I see it as dangerous, forbidding, scary,........ deadly.

Several weeks ago, I had the brilliant idea to take the dogs down to the pond for a swim, and then down to the creek through a small path in the woods that we had made from our frequent forays through there over the last year since we had found this fun and wonderful place to play on the back part of our neibhoers adjoining property.

Since we have been traversing the trail for quite some time, we had developed a false sense of security. Nothing bad had ever happened before, so we started going as the weather turned nicer and nicer, more frequently, and had become less and less concerned about the creepy crawlies that we may run across. We just plunged right on through the woods without a care in the world. Our main goal and concern being who could get there first, and the fastest.

My best friend of 9 years, my constant companion, who doesnt care to get there first, he just cares that he and I dont loose track of each other and that both of us land there at the same time, and perferably side by side, which is how he has lived his entire life, being vigilantly close beside me, is my GSD Cain.
No better protector and loyal friend have I ever had in my lifetime, and Ive never met a more devoted, lay down his life for me in a heart beat kind of devotion than that with which Cain has provided for me since we joined in our partnership 9 years ago.

Cain was a big brother to all other animals. A kindly grandpa to puppies, and a patient teacher to those that would try to take his place as Head of Security, Head Master, Top Dog, and my all around Number 1. He has never hurt anyone or anything. But for the same token, he has never shirked his duties to protect me and mine and has always put himself in between me and what he percieves as a dangerous situation.
Cain is a certified therapy dog, and has worked extensivly with physically and mentally handicapped children. He is extremely good with Autistic children, and Down Syndrom effected people, adults and children alike. He then moved on as he proved himself and was able to become certified at the highest level that a dog can be certified in, to working with burn patients, perferably, again children. He worked with kids to help them move and stretch, a painful process, and one that children were loath to do because it caused them pain. Bring a dog into the picture, and a handful of treats and a soft brush, a big head to pet and a few stupid pet tricks and the calm and gentle, patient,non demanding presence of Cain into the picture, and Cain was able to achomplish with children what physical therapists could not. To watch Cain at work, would bring tears to ones eyes, and had to a many a parent that witnessed the change and effect that Cain had on their children as he helped them through their physical therapy. Cain personified the words Noble, Grand, Intelligent, Kind, Loving, Patient, Empathy, Loyality, and All Heart. He would lay down his life for me, and maybe thats exactly what he was doing, putting himself yet once again between me and what he percieved as a danger to me.
Where am I going with this rambling you ask?
Well, Cain was bit by a very large Copperhead viper almost 4 weeks ago while on one of our excursions to the creek.
I wasnt aware that he was biten for several weeks after the bite,(he was bitten on his elbow and it was hidden from all the hair, and his symptoms werent A typical of snake bite) but he was quite sick.

I had been nurse maiding him, and while he was still surviving on my bad cooking and McDonalds cheese burges and anything else I could get him to eat) he had lost 30 lbs and I wasnt seeing him getting any better. When I discoved the snake bite, I was ecstatic. I thought I knew what was wrong with him now, and all we needed to do was get him back to the vet and get some meds and all would be well and right in our world again.
As it is some times in life, things arent always as cut and dried as they seem. Or, as we would like for them to be.
Through a series of bloodwork and another exam from Dr. Williams, it was discovered that Cain had developed a heart murmer, that his kidneys were failing, and the great possibility that the liver was soon to follow. And he had become diabetic. Our options were few, and there was the strong possibility that even had we put the time and energy into trying to save him, it would have bought him only a short time longer with us, and that time wasnt going to be easy on him.
I felt it was my duty to Cain to give him a free pass on this one. He has given so much of himself through out his life, to me, to my family, friends he new and loved, strangers, it didnt matter. If you held out your hand in friendship, he was your friend, and that to Cain, meant giving you his all.
Dr. Williams told me yesterday that he was surprised in his condition that he was even still alive and getting around, and that it was due in large part to his intestinal fortitude. His strong character, and his unwillingness to give up. (and maybe even a little to my bad cooking)

I couldnt allow Cain's life to end in the Vet Hospital, although he was confident, happy and comfortable laying on the floor in the exam room, it was to sterile and white washed. I didnt want this to be the last place he saw. I wanted him to feel as if he were going home, and so we layed a sheet on the back seat of my truck, and took Cain out to the truck and helped him in. I rolled down the windows so he could feel the sun and cool breeze and he lay down on the seat and lifted his head into the sun, enjoying the breeze through the open windows and he was smiling. Even as thin and puiny as he had become, he still took up the entire seat. I started the truck and we let it idle, and I held Cains head in my hands and buried my face in his as I wispered in his ear to him what a grand fella he was and how much I loved him and he quickly and easily fell into his eternal slumber.
I did take Cain home, and we buried him under some trees on a hill that he liked to stand on and observe his world, his domain. Im glad that Cain is no longer in misery and pain that he beared so silently and bravely. Im happy that he has crossed the Bridge, and is free. I hope and pray that my loss is his gain. I could never explain the relationship that Cain and I shared. It was more intimate than any other dog I have ever had, it was the most precious friendship that Ive ever known. We Trusted in each other implicitly. Never questioned each others decisions, and no matter what, I knew he always had my back, and he knew I had his. We lived in perfect unison. Ive known a many a man that could have taken a page from the book of Cain, he was better in every way than any human I have ever known.

RIP My Loyal Friend
I Love You...

Cain 3-17-00 To 4-20-09

Friday, April 17, 2009

Whats Better Than A Hemorrhoid Donut?

Why, Chris' new life vest of course!
A while back, I had posted about Little Miss Chris' disturbing habit of pond diving. While entertaining and unusual, it is still very frightening to see her dive under the water and stay submerged for way longer than even I can hold my breath. What she is doing down there under the water, is finding sunken treasure. Limbs and roots, and tug, tug, tugging until she can get it pulled up and surfaces with it. Chris is a die hard, she doesn't give up easily when it comes to sticks. So I had these horrible visions of her staying with it till she got it, or didn't get it and drowned her silly self. I honestly believe she would do just that too, if the root didn't give in to her demands to come up to the surface with her. Ive watched her tug at roots before, and she always wins. I couldn't see her giving up the fight just to breath.

Barbara, a friend of Chris' and mine, saw the post, and while entertained as well, understood my dire stress about her odd behavior, and thoughtfully sent Chris a dogie life vest.
I wasn't sure the vest was going to be as exciting for Chris as it was for me, she is a weirdo, and not inclined to like wearing anything. I bought her boots a few years ago when we were in Utah so she could run in the snow and ice without cutting her paws, she hated them, and refused to walk in them. She stood there looking like a cat with tape stuck on its paws.
Lifting first one foot and then another, trying to flip the offending foot wear off her feet. Too, Id bought her a little coat once, just cause I thought she would look cute in it.
She flopped down on the ground when I put it on her and refused to move. So with that in mind, I took things a little slow with the vest. I left it laying around for about a week, occasionally picking it up and making some exclamation about it in Chris' direction, just to show her it was harmless, and Oh so stylish. While she appeared interested, she was still rather unimpressed. One look, and she'd walk away and flop down, eyeing me suspiciously.
No doubt the mere shape of it had brought back memories of the trauma Id inflicted on her in expecting her to wear the coat.

So last Sunday was Easter, and a beautiful day to take the dogs out for a swim and a little run in the woods. Perfect time to try out the vest.
All the dogs were running around the yard, having a grand ole time and I asked who wanted to go to the pond. All heads popped up and looked at me. POND!!?? Yeaaaaaaa! Well at the mere mention of the pond, all I saw was assholes and elbows, everyone taking off in the general direction of the pond.
Whoa guys! I shouted at the disappearing back ends of 6 dogs. Wait a minuet! Look what Ive got! Everyone came back to see what I had. Oh, I made a big event of it. I showed it to each dog, laying it on their backs and telling them all how sporty they looked in it. And OH Hank! Yellow is so your color! Chris, who was immediately suspicious, stood just outside the circle of dogs I was wading through, looking rather distrusting. I called her to me and the ears went down, the tail went down, and she thought about pretending as if she hadn't heard me, but new better when she and I locked eyes.
She slunk up to me, like she was expecting to be in trouble. I showed it to her, she gave me a look that clearly said she'd seen it already and still was not impressed by its bright yellow color, and what were all those straps hanging off it. Surely, it must be some strange torture devise, a straight jacket for dogs?
With a little more pushing and shoving from the other dogs, cause I was using my little girl voice and making such a big deal of it that everyone wanted to wear it, Chris just couldnt stand it anymore, and presented herself to be included in the fashion show.

I took her collar off, and laid the vest across her back. Much to my surprise, she stood there looking rather triumphant, sneering at the other dogs as if she were the chosen one. Ha! My devious plan had worked! She was pretty tickled to parade around with it and show off to everyone, and oh yes Chris! Yellow is your color too!

I said lets head out to the pond, and fluffy butts became my scenery.

I got to the pond a little slower than the dogs did, I spect theres some thing to be said for having 4 legs instead of only 2. And this was what I saw as I got there.

Chris had wasted no time in trying out the new vest and had plunged right in searching the depths of the pond for just the right stick. She was a bit confused when she surfaced.
I could see her mind ticking, trying to figure out why she couldnt dive. She was confused, but not deterred.

I searched around the pond for a stick Chris would think worthy, she likes her a big stick, no puiny ones for her! And found what I thought would be an acceptable one to toss out in the water for her and hopfully dissuade her from continuing her pond bottom forays. Apparently, it was not worthy, as this is where it ended up, alone, discarded, and unworthy,

and Chris dove down, fighting the boyant vest all the way down, to come up with a more acceptable prize.

Only to have it stolen from her as she reached shore with it. Bear is a lazy stick theif. He will swim out, let Chris get the stick, and swim back to shore in front of her so he can steal her prize. I wish she'd kick his butt for doing this, but I think she lets him have it just so she can go back out and get another one.

Some times he doesnt even bother to swim out, and just waits on shore for her to get back with the stick, and then steals it.

And then there are those extra special sickle shaped logs she unearths from the murky depths that she wont let him have under any circumstances.

And she will not let anyone within close proximity once she gets it on shore,
and also says in no uncertin terms, that it would be best to leave her and her precious alone.

She will entertain herself for a little while,

and when she cant get anyone to play with her or toss the stick for her, she tries to put the whodo voodo Border Collie eye on the stick, and use mental telepathy to magically will the stick through the air.

When that doesnt work, and all else fails,

its time to head for the creek.
(fun at the creek pics to follow shortly)